Review: A Spy in the House

10:46 AM

About time I posted something, I think. I have been HUGELY busy (yes that is a thing) because it's coming down to the wire in my sociology class, in other words-- finals. Yikes! My final paper is sitting to my right. I'm scared of reading through it one last time because *pauses to collect myself* editing. If I find one comma wrong, I cannot stop myself from re-printing the entire paper. EDIT: I did find a mistake and I did reprint a whole page.

School makes me grumpy.

Today, my peeps, I give you a review. I also want to talk really quickly about the books I review on Life of a Random. First of all, I've never really stated specifically what I review but I focus almost completely on YA fiction, narrowing it further down to dystopian, sci-fi, and fantasy usually. However, I read in all types of genera so you can expect a historical YA fiction once in a while or a biography, or etc. etc. Also, I'm a reviewer for Bethany House now so you can probably expect one Christian fiction type book every month. Variety is good, so while I'm still going to be focusing on what I usually do, I will have other features as well. Take the opportunity to try out some new books too! It'll be fun :)

Publication Date: March 9, 2010
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 335
Source: library
Format: paperback

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

I already knew, or at least hoped, that this was going to be an amazing book after seeing the cover and reading the blurb. Do you see the key integrated into the title? Exquisite I tell you. One thing, though, I wish I'd had time to read it more steadily because then I would've been able to set out all the points I liked and didn't like better, but I savored every bit of it that I read so don't worry. ;)

The summary (from Goodreads by the way) is a little misleading in my opinion. Mary isn't actually a major part of the case (of the missing cargo ships) at first; however, she gets involved, or more involved than she was supposed to, because she's curious and impatient. On to the review!

It does mention romance.

No, it is not. In fact, I LOVED the main relationship that was featured. Mary and the dude only kiss two times, and it's not make-out kissing either. That made me happy. Because like the grandson in The Princess Bride, I'm not a big fan of kissing books. *grimaces*  Mary and the love interest always had playful (or cutting) banter going on, and they also roughed each other up a bit. The love interest is a bit of a young Mr. Darcy. A review quoted on the back of the book said this and it's quite accurate. This usually makes the romances interesting...

Mary Quinn was awesome. I have no idea how she put up with some of the characters but I liked that she only managed it because she had to stay undercover. She was spunky and smart and quite rebellious for that time period. The conversations between her and the luurve interest were hilarious.

The romance was amazing because it wasn't too fast and it wasn't too slow. It didn't take over the whole book (I'm SO thankful) and it didn't fade like it almost wasn't there. I could see the mutual attraction *smiles smugly* I totally ship them.

When the love interest kisses her, Mary's like


And the plot. This was truly a book of deceptions. There was no way I could've figured anything out on my own (I did get suspicious but nothing definite). It's like the author took all these straying, seemingly-independent mysterious sub-plots and combined them into one, ALSO giving Mary her own mystery that is related to her personal history. So while you're wondering what's going on with these disappearing ships and all that jazz, you're also wondering what's going on with Mary.

I LOVE CONFUSION. And what is more awesome than a spy in the Victorian era when women were seen as delicate creatures? The ending was a gentle ending, sort of winding down from the tense guessing game. But just wait. The ending.

There was nothing majorly wrong with this book. It may have started a bit slowly and there was quite a bit of telling as opposed to showing for those of you who don't like that. Personally, I didn't mind. It even seemed like it added a little to the voice of the book.

I would recommend this book to those who like historical YA fiction, spy stories, mysteries, and snappy (as in quick-witted) romances.

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself.

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